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kenyan climber THE








SEPT 2020 ISSUE 01



a new platform for connecting Kenyans with rock climbing.


STORIES MATTER embracing our stories and telling them!



celebrating the Kenyan mountaineering spirit



an opportunity for action towards more inclusivity



upcoming events and trending news in the climbing world.

PHOTOS: Cover: Liz Ndindi on Arthur's Horror (S), Main Face - Lukenya // 2: Nyamzy Giati on Baboon Face (5.11) – Tumaren Camp, Laikipia // 3: Climbing Life Kenya Volunteers at Slideshow Presentation by Peter Naituli Feb 2020, Nairobi / Nyamzy Giati and Silvanous Mwaliki scouting for boulders at Mua Hills / Liz Ndindi on Final Boss (V5) The Crown boulder – Lukenya // 4: Peter Naituli on Mt. Kenya // 5: Kisoi Munyao on Mt. Kenya / James Muhia on Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan // 8: Team Climbing Life Kenya participants at amateur indoor climbing competition - 07 Mar 2020, Nairobi // 9: Nyamzy Giati and Liz Ndindi on Tweedledee (D) - Gumshoe, Lukenya. All photo credits: Climbing Life Kenya, Others: Peter Naituli, James Muhia

karibu Welcome to the first issue of our quarterly newsletter! The Kenyan Climber will serve as one of Climbing Life

Kenya's platforms for connecting Kenyans with rock climbing. Each issue will feature articles, trending news from the climbing world, upcoming events, and activities and great anecdotes from Kenyan climbing history! We want The Kenyan Climber to be valuable for you so please share your feedback and suggestions at info@climbinglifekenya.org. As we continue to harness the transformative potential of rock climbing in bringing positive impact to our local community, we remain grateful to our volunteers and supporters, who share our passion. Climbing Life Kenya is because we are. Pamoja,

Climbinglifekenya the kenyan climber 03

stories matter By sharing our stories, we transcend through time and pass along our identity, our history. It is through our collective stories that we build our communities, and find common ground with others. Tell of your firsts. The thrills and let downs. Of the rocks and mountains you climbed and those failed attempts. Of the trails you have hiked and the wonders you have seen. Of your struggles and successes. Of your hopes and regrets and the moments filled with joy. Of learning what true friendship means. So, tell your story. climbinglifekenya.org/blog





Kisoi Munyao hoisted the Kenyan flag on independence day in 1963, returning soon after Christmas to raise it on Batian!

of splendour Mountaineering, much like long-

and return to the mountain soon after

distance running Kenya is synonymous

Christmas to raise it on Batian!

with, elicits a great source of patriotism amongst Kenyans who engage in it.

The mountaineering spirit lives on. James Kagambi, Bob Bhania, Sam Taylor, James

Some of the earliest records on Kenyan

Muhia and many other Kenyan

mountaineers were of the summit of

mountaineers reaching some of the

Nelion (Mt. Kenya’s second highest pitch)

highest peaks in the world away from the

by Mtu Muthara (1938) and Ali Kikuyu (1941).

glare of the limelight continue to raise the Kenyan flag high.

In 1959 Kisoi Munyao became the first black African mountainteer to reach Mt.

An opportunity exists to celebrate and

Kenyan's highest peak, Batian, He would

document achievements by Kenyans in

later hoist the Kenyan flag on the Nellion

the mountaineering arena more and help

on Kenya's independence day in 1963 -

set the pace for future generations.

“Kenyan mountaineers continue to raise the flag high as they set the pace for future generations.” the kenyan climber 05

twende! ALLEZ! COME ON! "Motivational phrase frequently yelled by belayers, spotters, and bystanders to encourage a climber who is trying hard on a route or problem."


covid-19: an opportunity for action toward more inclusivity The COVID-19 pandemic has had a

options, hiring or purchase of gear and

climbers in order to build a base for

major impact on sport and physical

transport, health and accident covers,

long-term development in rock

activity. Social and physical distancing

and other associated costs related to

climbing. Social and physical

measures, closure of gyms and schools,

rock climbing. The costs of

distancing guidelines could greatly

closure of sports facilities and areas,

participation will become prohibitive

hinder such activities that require close

curfews, and other measures put in

and unsustainable.

proximity and interaction of persons.

The local Kenyans’ rock climbing

The COVID-19 pandemic is a chance for

participation will be further

all stakeholders to consider the

complicated by the fact that the

opportunities best suited to meet the

majority of them are in the foundation

community’s unique needs and

(beginners and intermediate) levels of

evolving lifestyles and to take measures

rock climbing. In these stages, a

to support local participation in rock

climber would need to climb more

climbing activities.

place in an attempt to encourage physical distancing and curtail the spread of the disease, have significantly disrupted sport and physical activity, rock climbing is no exception. Local Participation

Even before the pandemic, local participation in rock climbing activities in Kenya was inhibited by different factors with one of the key deterrents to participation being the high cost of rock climbing opportunities and equipment. “One of the main difficulties encountered by young climbers is lack of money. Most of us have had this ourselves at one time or another. But few of us have had it as acutely as most Africans have it, because few of us – and I am speaking of expatriates – have many dependants. In such circumstances, the costs of climbing are prohibitive.” - Presidential Address, Mountain Club of Kenya 1964. This still stands true in 2020. And now, local Kenyans who have taken up rock climbing are concerned they will not be able to continue with the sport due to the economic repercussions of COVID-19. With the rise in unemployment caused by the pandemic, many individuals and families interested in rock climbing will not have the disposable income available to cater for the cost of climbing sessions, membership

08 the kenyan climber

often to master the basics of rock climbing and partake in one-on-one instruction sessions with experienced

Read full article on climbinglifekenya.org/blog


Titan Project; Sabrina Chapman AUG 16, 2020 Titan Project is a short film about Sabrina Chapman, a Canadian sport climber with Indian & African heritage on a mission to send her first 5.14a - the threshold for elite climbing. The film is also a story of one's journey of self acceptance, healing and resilience. A reminder that gender, ethnic or cultural backgrounds should not stop one from achieving their goals. SOURCE: MELANINBASECAMP.COM

"Bibliographie" 9c by Alex Megos AUG 5, 2020 Alexander Megos became the second climber in history after Adam Ondra to offer a 9c (5.15d) with the first ascent of Bibliographie. "Independently from the grade, this has been a very valuable experience for Photo by Ken Etzel me. It marks a personal milestone in my climbing life, one I would have not been able to complete without the support and help of all my friends and family." SOURCE: PLANETMOUNTAIN.COM

Climbing Chalk and Covid-19 JUL 24, 2020 Climbing chalk may help deactivate coronavirus according to initial findings of a study from De Montfort University commissioned by the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC). These findings were however not to be used as evidence use of chalk makes indoors holds safe in terms of transmission as the study sample was small, SARS-CoV-2 was not used in the study and the final report was not complete. SOURCE: THEBMC.CO.UK

upcoming events JOIN US “There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, What if you fly?” - Erin Hanson ROCK CLIMBING EXCURSIONS

Join us for our upcoming rock climbing excursions. Slots are limited and available on a first come first served basis. Visit climbinglifekenya.org for the calendar of events and book your space! MEMBERSHIP

Climbing Life Kenya Membership is a great way to support the different programming at Climbing Life Kenya. Sign-up on

Petzl Low-Stretch Kernmantle Ropes JUL 21, 2020 While unpacking his new Petzl AXIS 11mm ropes, one of Petzl's clients found 2 critical defects on his ropes. As a precaution, Petzl issued a request for the immediate inspection of the low-stretch kernmantel ropes listed on their website that have a serial number between 18 C 0000000 000 and 20 H 0000000 000. Please read the information on their website and, if necessary, inspect your ropes.

climbinglifekenya.org/support and help support our activities. PAST EVENTS

Here are highlights on activities that have set the pace for us in 2020! Rock climbing excursions (August 27, 29; January 30) Outdoor bouldering (August 14, July 27, 22) Sport climbing (July 15,20) Women in the Outdoors Forum (March 08) Amateur Indoor Climbing Competition (March 07) Solo Climbing on Mt. Kenya, Slideshow presentation (February 27)


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